Carrie Rengers

Second PepperJax Grill to open on North Rock Road

Last month, Gary Rohwer announced that his first Wichita PepperJax Grill will open on the west side and said a second announcement would quickly follow.

Now, he has that second deal, this time on North Rock Road, and is working on a third Wichita site as well.

Rohwer, who is president and CEO of the regional chain that’s based in Omaha, has about 40 restaurants so far with plans to go nationwide.

The first Wichita PepperJax will open in less than four months in front of Lowe’s near 29th Street North and Maize Road in the 2,400-square-foot space that Cinnamon’s Deli was in until late last year.

The second PepperJax will open about 45 days after the first at 3130 N. Rock Road, which is just north of the northeast corner of 29th and Rock Road.

“It had a pretty strong index for our type of demographics that we like to stay within,” Rohwer says.

The space is 2,770 square feet, which compares with the 2,400 square feet the west-side PepperJax will have.

PepperJax has a signature item that Rohwer calls “America’s best Philly.”

It also has gourmet rice bowls on its menu, along with a burrito, nachos and salads.

Diners stand in line to choose ingredients similar to what they do at Chipotle Mexican Grill, which Rohwer says is a concept that helped inspire PepperJax.

The difference is PepperJax customers also can watch their food being cooked.

In addition to the Rock Road restaurant, Rohwer is negotiating for space in the popular Ridge Road restaurant corridor south of Maple.

“We’re in the process of working on a freestanding pad site right now,” he says.

Unlike the first two PepperJax sites, this one would have a drive through.

Rohwer says he doesn’t have a contract or even a letter of intent for the deal yet, but he says he’s hopeful.

“We’re going to try to make it happen.”

Carrie Rengers: 316-268-6340, @CarrieRengers